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We just started homeschooling!  My kids stopped going to school on the 12th and I am so happy to have them home. Anyway, my 6th grader needs work in math. I think I could get her ready for pre-algebra by January and just work through the summer to get it done. That would put her in algebra in 8th. That being said, it would be nice to have more time and just do algebra in 9th. I don't want to close any doors for her, but I am pretty she sure she isn't headed for a STEM degree. It seems like everyone is doing pre-algebra in 6th in 7th grade. The school she left was doing it in 6th. Is it important for kids to have algebra in 8th these days.....??

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The important thing is that your kids have a strong foundation going into algebra. Take the time you need to get that.

 

It is standard in _some_ places to have Algebra in 8th. You may want to work through the summer, but really, it is up to you & her.

 

It is hard NOT to compare when you are on here. Just don't. You'll find the whole gamut with a skew toward early algebra. I have some of each.

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My Middle Child is doing Algebra in 9th. We just brought him home in October. We're pretty unhappy with the decisions that put him Alg in 9th instead of 8th.... his GT coordinator did not support him as she should have. Another issue in the group that brought him home.

 

ANYWAY.

 

We're using 3rd edition Saxon, in part, so that we can fold Geometry into the other classes and still be ready for Calc his senior year if he wants. We don't have the option to work through the summer due to custody situations.

Edited by theelfqueen
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We are doing Algebra in 9th.  I switched textbooks at the semester, too, so we'll probably be doing Algebra all summer and maybe into next school year.  We'll start Geometry in 10th no matter what, and if there's some Algebra overlap, well, so what?

 

 

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I'll be (hopefully) doing Algebra in 9th with my DD.  Math has been a struggle for her, so we've gone at her pace.  My goal is to get her through Algebra II, then do a consumer math or statistics class for her senior year.

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My dd is doing Algebra in ninth online (the only section offered is during her photography class) but she goes to ps for everything else.

 

We started Algebra in 8th grade, but because she was in and out of ps that year (she couldn't decide if she wanted to stick with homeschool or ps) I felt she would benefit from a solid year once through.

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My dd is doing Algebra in ninth online (the only section offered is during her photography class) but she goes to ps for everything else.

 

We started Algebra in 8th grade, but because she was in and out of ps that year (she couldn't decide if she wanted to stick with homeschool or ps) I felt she would benefit from a solid year once through.

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Dd did Algebra 1 in 9th and is in college now on a full tuition scholarship and in nursing, so it didn't hold her back. I wanted to make sure she was very ready for it.

 

Ds is in pre-algebra now and wants to do algebra in 8th. I am not sure he will be as ready as I'd like, so I'll have the final say.

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FWIW, my parents would have said that I wasn't headed for a STEM degree when I was in 6th grade either.  And then I ended up majoring in biochemistry.

 

yup.  I was going to be a historian till 10th grade - ended up in CompSci.  you never know.

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My older son will do algebra in 9th. I wanted to make sure he was extremely well prepared for it, so he has done a very thorough pre-algebra sequence. He still has time for all the math he needs, though he isn't one I expect to go beyond Alg. 2.

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The important thing is that your kids have a strong foundation going into algebra. Take the time you need to get that.

 

 

It is hard NOT to compare when you are on here. Just don't. You'll find the whole gamut with a skew toward early algebra. I have some of each.

This is so important for me to remember! I think she would end up with a better understanding and relationship with math if we take our time. I guess the flip side of will doors be closed, is will doors be closed due to NOT taking the time? Looking on these boards it does seem like EVERYONE is taking it early 6th ,7th and at the latest 8th. Thank you all for the reminder that this is not the case.

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This is so important for me to remember! I think she would end up with a better understanding and relationship with math if we take our time. I guess the flip side of will doors be closed, is will doors be closed due to NOT taking the time? Looking on these boards it does seem like EVERYONE is taking it early 6th ,7th and at the latest 8th. Thank you all for the reminder that this is not the case.

Teach the child in front of you.  Work at a pace that will help her really solidify her understanding of pre-algebra concepts before tackling Algebra 1.  If she flies through the material, great.  If she struggles, slow down, find other approaches, you tube videos, hands on materials, whatever it takes for her to understand what she is doing and apply it.  

 

As many have said, you will find a wide range of situations on these boards.  Some kids are ready for Algebra 1 in earlier grades than 9th.  Others won't hit Algebra until 10th or 11th.  Teach your kid.  Don't worry about their kids.   :)  If, as she moves through High School she decides she wants a STEM major, doing 9th grade Algebra I won't have ruined her life.  Work through summers, take an extra year or gap year to do extra math lessons, do Duel Enrollment or whatever seems the best option at that time.  Right now what you need to do is assess where your child is at right now, work to fill in any gaps, and move forward at whatever pace and with whatever approach actually helps her learn the math.  

 

FWIW, I was rushed through math prior to Algebra I.  I never had a solid foundation.  It really mucked me up for doing Algebra II and Trigonometry.  I wish with all my heart that someone had said, whoa, lets slow down a bit and review so the foundation is solid, not built on shifting sand.  

 

Welcome to homeschooling.  Best wishes. :)

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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 I guess the flip side of will doors be closed, is will doors be closed due to NOT taking the time? 

 

It will influence other things - like her science progression in high school. She might or might not get through enough math to take a Calculus-based Physics in high school. Lots & lots of kids never take a Calculus-based Physics & that's okay. A good conceptual physics class, which she could take concurrently with algebra, is completely acceptable for high school and would set her up if she did end up going with a STEM major in college. But you will definitely have to take her math progression into consideration when determining her sciences. That's not killer, though.

 

If she decided to shoot for Ivy League, her math progression might not look as strong as many others applying alongside her.

 

Do these sound like really concerning things?

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I would encourage you to look at what is typical in your public schools as well. In our area only the very weakest students take Algebra in the 9th grade. Whether that is right or not is immaterial. Our state universities know that so Algebra on a transcript in 9th grade says something - and it's not a good thing. Sure they will know we homeschooled but what that will tell the university is that I didn't even keep up with an average public school student. This is a concern with my youngest who has some learning issues and is not currently on target to get to Algebra before 9th. We are considering having her wait another year before starting high school and this is one of the bigger reasons. Now in our case we have other reasons as well, but if she didn't have learning issues I would be doing whatever I could to be sure she was doing Algebra in the 8th grade.

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Have you given her any assessments for the math program you are planning on using?  That might help you.  Do you even know which one you will go with?  Or do you have a specific program in mind?  I would start with trying to figure out why she is struggling and work from there.  Don't worry so much about 8th grade right now.  You need to find out what is tripping her up in 6th.  It may be easy to shore up or it may be something that takes a lot of time and effort.  

 

Ask yourself if it makes sense to rush her through pre-algebra just to get to Algebra I in 8th grade if she isn't ready.  Does it make sense to rush her through so she can struggle in Algebra I, get discouraged, have to review, possibly lose even more time and possibly develop a bad attitude about math?

 

Teach the kid in front of you.  Go at whatever pace is working for your child.  Find the gaps and shore those up now.  Then move forward at the pace that keeps her learning.  If she is grasping concepts and doing well, move forward at a faster pace.  If she is struggling a bit, review, slow down a tad, etc.  If she is really struggling you may need to step back a bit to be able to move forward again successfully.

 

I will be honest, I don't get the mentality that a child has to be rushed through math so they look more competitive on paper.  What does it matter if they look good on paper if they cannot actually DO the math?  I think our ps system fails our kids in this way.  I think that is also why so many kids get to college and struggle to function in college level science and math courses.  Their foundation was built on sand.  The transcript was more important than the actual knowledge/skill sets being honed, KWIM?

 

I agree, especially if a child is set on STEM then keeping an eye on creating a competitive transcript needs to be in the equation, too.   Even if you don't think your child is heading in that direction, certainly you don't want to close doors inadvertently.  Just don't make a competitive transcript the primary focus.  Your child actually learning the math is more important.

 

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My oldest is doing algebra in 8th, but my middle child will have to work very hard to begin algebra in 9th. She just started Horizons 5 and she is in 6th grade. She needs to do Horizons 5&6 before beginning prealgebra, so that means she needs to complete two levels of math in a year and a half (she will work through the summers). She progresses according to her abilities, so I have no idea if she will reach that goal. I would rather her reach algebra with a solid foundation in arithmetic than rush her. I doubt when she takes algebra (8th, 9th, or 10th) will affect her future as much as how well she does in algebra and beyond.

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If she is at home, you can go at her pace. Work through the summer to shore up weaknesses, then start algebra when she is ready. Maybe that will be next August, or maybe it will be before then, in January or March, and she still will be doing algebra in ninth but you will have extra time for it. You don't have to follow the school schedule.

 

You can also attempt to catch up by doing algebra in ninth concurrently with geometry. Or do half of geometry in ninth and the other half in tenth, along with algebra 2. It's a lot of math, but some children in regular schools do double up on math with geometry in order to catch up. A standard geometry course does not require advanced algebra, and you can choose a course that is sequenced in a way that covering algebra at the same time won't cause problems.

 

Even if you don't double up, if she home schools for high school, you will be writing about her in your transcript. If she looks a year "behind" in math but takes the strongest math program she can in high school and does well on college entrance exams, I think that is in her favor. You can explain how she had to overcome deficits from previous schooling when you talk about why you homeschooled.

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I agree, especially if a child is set on STEM then keeping an eye on creating a competitive transcript needs to be in the equation, too. Even if you don't think your child is heading in that direction, certainly you don't want to close doors inadvertently. Just don't make a competitive transcript the primary focus. Your child actually learning the math is more important.

Even for a child keen on STEM, a competitive transcript is not required for state universities that are not the tippy top with single digit acceptance rate.

 

Another route is to go through community college that has good transfer rates for STEM majors.

 

Also look at extracurriculars like a friend's son who rear chicks because his passion is chicks rearing.

 

ETA:

My local school does prealgebra in 6th just like OP. But the "slower" track students can still go for summer credits if they want to. The only science that needs calculus is AP Physics C but even Regentrude said she rather have kids firm in algebra than have a shaky foundation.

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Here are the entrance requirements for students right out of high school into the university system here in GA, including GA Tech which is a very good STEM school. 

 

Math courses required are Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and a 4th advanced course. 

 

http://www.usg.edu/student_affairs/documents/Staying_on_Course.pdf

 

Many students may have done more, but it appears that here in our state going through pre-calculus is technically enough to get you in. I think I'd rather take calculus in the program I'm entering anyway. I'm of the mindset that I want my kids doing freshman level classes in their field of study at the college they plan to graduate through instead of courses at home, AP, or in a dual-enrollment setting. 

 

 

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(This post is more of an aside about calculus in high school). I think that many students that take calculus in high school do take it again anyway in college if they need it for STEM majors. Unless they get a 5 on the exam, some more selective schools are not going to give credit for more than one semester of calculus, anyway. And some schools give an exemption for a higher score, but you apparently still have to take a math class at their school. It seems to vary a lot. And many kids who take AP Calculus do not get 4s or 5s.

 

I don't think that AP courses are always truly college level. I don't really look at taking higher math in high school necessarily to receive credits for college, but because the student is ready for the math and because it will help increase preparedness for college courses.

 

Out of curiosity, I googled what percentage of GA Tech freshman have taken calculus in high school. According to this, 94%.

http://www.news.gatech.edu/2015/08/13/tech-welcomes-record-setting-freshman-class

http://admission.gatech.edu/images/pdf/2015_freshman_profile_web.pdf

But that is not surprising considering the selectivity of the school and that they are a tech school. What you don't know is what scores they received on the AP exam.

Edited by Penelope
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Here are the entrance requirements for students right out of high school into the university system here in GA, including GA Tech which is a very good STEM school. 

 

Math courses required are Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and a 4th advanced course. 

 

http://www.usg.edu/student_affairs/documents/Staying_on_Course.pdf

 

Many students may have done more, but it appears that here in our state going through pre-calculus is technically enough to get you in. I think I'd rather take calculus in the program I'm entering anyway. I'm of the mindset that I want my kids doing freshman level classes in their field of study at the college they plan to graduate through instead of courses at home, AP, or in a dual-enrollment setting. 

 

Schools know that not everyone has access to take Calculus in high school. This is taken into account when publishing their "requirements". That means that an excellent student who has done very well on entrance exams and taken all the advanced classes possible but didn't have the ability to take Calculus because his school didn't offer it won't be penalized for it. But in practice, if your school had Calculus (or because you home schooled you had the ability to take it) and you didn't, it will hurt you. GA Tech expects Calculus. 

 

Our state schools are similar - they don't specifically say you need Calculus but they expect it. Same with foreign language. Many schools say 2 or 3 years but want more. We have one state school that expects a minimum of 4 years (likes 5) but that isn't on their website because not everyone has access to that many levels of FL. 

 

No one is suggesting that a kid take Algebra before they are ready, but the reality is that it can be a problem if you don't. It's just something to keep in mind when deciding if your student really isn't ready or if it's just easier not to push. The OP implied that her student could get ready but it would take work. If that's true, I think it's worth the work.

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The school district DD left when she came to homeschool (in 6th grade) also had the GT kids doing Algebra I in 7th.  DD's entire cohort of classmates went on to do Algebra I in 7th while DD did an additional year of pre-algebra/arithmetic because I just felt she wasn't solid enough with that to progress to Algebra I.  She's in Algebra I now (8th) and doing well, but if she were struggling, I would not have batted an eyelash in keeping her in arithmetic/pre-algebra  for an additional year.  Incidentally, the majority (!) if her classmates who Took Algebra I in 7th needed a tutor to pass with a respectable grade.  I think that is a huge indictment of the school system and the school pushing kids into Algebra I before they are prepared than of anything else.

 

I do think it's more important to be solid with arithmetic before going into Algebra I, whatever the grade.  As long as you have 4 years of higher level math, I think your child will be competitive for a decent college.  That said, if you and your child are up for making up ground during the weekend and summers, I would go for it.  But I wouldn't burn a kid out just to get to Algebra I in 8th/.

We just started homeschooling!  My kids stopped going to school on the 12th and I am so happy to have them home. Anyway, my 6th grader needs work in math. I think I could get her ready for pre-algebra by January and just work through the summer to get it done. That would put her in algebra in 8th. That being said, it would be nice to have more time and just do algebra in 9th. I don't want to close any doors for her, but I am pretty she sure she isn't headed for a STEM degree. It seems like everyone is doing pre-algebra in 6th in 7th grade. The school she left was doing it in 6th. Is it important for kids to have algebra in 8th these days.....??

 

Edited by reefgazer
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Our public and private school districts offer Algebra in 8th as an option, not a requirement or expectation. Just about 50% take that option. Quite a few end up re-taking Algebra in 9th. :)

 

Our math-struggler took Algebra 1 in 9th -- and, because he really didn't quite "get" it, I had him repeat it for the first half of 10th grade. Algebra 2 also took 1.5 years, and so that is the highest math we managed in high school. Many, many colleges only require up through Algebra 2 as an admissions requirement, and community colleges don't require that at all (you typically take a math placement test to see what level of math you're ready for), so there's there's a place for everyone, whether math-minded or math-struggling! :)

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My DD is in 9th grade in TTUISD. She is taking Algebra 1 now. She took Pre Algebra in 8th grade. She probably could have skipped Pre Algebra and done well, but I wanted her to take it slowly.  She is an excellent student. If your DC take Algebra 1 in 9th grade and they truly grasp the concepts, then they will have a solid foundation for more advanced Math.  If they do not fully understand Algebra 1, then more advanced Math becomes problematic.  GL  

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My middle child started algebra at the end of 7th and will finish up in a few weeks (end of 8th). My youngest won't be doing algebra until 9th. My oldest did algebra in TENTH grade and is a biology major with a chem minor.

 

Imo, the rush to get kids into algebra super early is bunk. Kids will be ready when they are ready. Work on pre-algebra until your child is ready for algebra, and don't worry about what grade that is.

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In our area only the very weakest students take Algebra in the 9th grade.

What this tells me is that the majority of kids are not doing a rigorous algebra course. The slightly weak and average kids are probably doing "algebra lite."

 

I was worried for half a minute when some friends told me it was normal to start algebra in 6th grade these days. Then I looked at what their sixth graders were doing for "algebra" and realized that really, they were learning some algebraic concepts, same as my kids, but they were not taking an algebra course.

 

I'd be interested to see how much of the syllabus those kids in your area are actually getting through in their algebra I class. My oldest dd's school did not allow students to take algebra I (or anything higher even if they'd taken algebra I in middle school) because they found that the incoming freshmen's math skills were so weak. The entire 9th grade year was devoted to getting them prepared for algebra. I think maybe 1 or 2 kids in the entire freshman class truly tested out of the first year math academy class they had.

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I don't want to take away from the kids who are truly doing algebra in the lower grades. I know there are definitely kids who are ready earlier and I don't think you should hold them back.

 

Math should be challenging, but not so much that the kid hates it. Take your lead from your kid - in whatever direction that drags you both.

 

We are working through summers (at 1/2 to 2/3 pace of our normal school rate) on math to try to get to algebra earlier for dd#2. Right now, that will only get us there on time for 9th or maybe halfway through 9th. Pushing her faster would be like pushing a piece of yarn. Totally different kid than dd#1. YMMV.

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All of my kids so far have done Algebra in 9th grade.  My next kid coming up is in eighth now and I will be happy if he makes it to his algebra book by next fall - LOL!  I do have one guy (my 12yods) that will probably move into Algebra next year (his seventh grade year) but we'll see how he does with the end of the Saxon 87 book.  

 

It's better to have them solid and understanding math than pushing them forward.  

 

My dd who is a senior in college and pulling straight A's barely made it through Algebra II in her high school math and has been very successful.  I have found it greatly amusing that she ends up helping her co-students with their math classes in the education department.

 

Edited by JanOH
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What this tells me is that the majority of kids are not doing a rigorous algebra course. The slightly weak and average kids are probably doing "algebra lite."

 

 

Actually they are taking real Algebra. The advanced kids take it in 7th (for their transcript) and the more average in 8th - also for their transcript with real Algebra texts. Those taking it in 9th will only be able to get a standard diploma. Our high school system has levels of diplomas.  The advanced diploma is for the college bound kids. Unless a student takes Algebra in the 8th grade at least there won't be room in their schedule to get enough credits for the advanced diploma. There has been a lot of discussion about getting rid of the standard diploma as many consider it substandard. It requires the 3 math credits - Alg 1, Geometry, Alg 2. But instead they recently got rid of the modified diploma which was geared toward the lowest kids and they now get the standard diploma which has 4 more credits required. 

 

It may not be the right thing to do but it's what is happening here and what my kids have to compete against when applying to our state schools. 

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with real Algebra texts

 

I have no doubt that they use real algebra texts, but I wonder whether they get a real, full algebra course. Because honestly, unless the math education in your district or state is really all that much better than pretty much everywhere else, if you have the majority of the kids in algebra I in 8th grade, what you will end up with is a lot of kids being dragged through a class without really mastering the material.

 

Eventually the colleges will figure that out, if they haven't already.

 

My friends who are teachers report to me that of the kids who took algebra I in 6th - 8th grades, most of them are not ready for algebra II when they get to high school. Some are, but the teachers have to spend a huge amount of time "reviewing" (really, they say, teaching) algebra I topics because the kids just didn't get them the first time around.

 

My one friend who teaches in a district where algebra I is standard in 9th grade doesn't have that problem with her students who take algebra II in 11th grade.

 

It's a big sham, imo. Algebra requires the ability to think abstractly, and a lot of kids just don't have it in 7th and 8th grades (and some not even in 9th). You can throw the material at the kids all you want, but that doesn't mean they are learning it. And by requiring kids to do things they may not be developmentally ready for, you are shutting a lot of doors on their futures. It's terrible, really.

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Even if you look at online schools catering to homeschoolers, WHA and Veritas Press, for example, recommend algebra 1 for grade 8 and Grade 7, respectively. And they use solid textbooks. While that doesn't mean all students enrolled are doing so, it does show that this has become somewhat of an expectation for college-bound students.

 

Even thirty plus years ago, when I was in a so-so public high school, many or perhaps most college bound kids took algebra 1 in eighth grade. Not many ended up taking calculus, though. Maybe it was more common then to just take the three years of math and then nothing senior year unless one was headed for STEM? I'm not sure, that is just how it worked where I was. I think more selective schools are even more competitive now than they were then.

 

But now I'm starting to feel like we are discouraging the OP, when really there are two separate issues here. One is the general expectation for college bound students. The other is meeting the student where she is and making sure she knows her algebra and geometry very well, so that if she doesn't get to calculus in high school, she will at least have a very good score on SAT/ACT and possibly SAT-2 math tests, if needed. I don't know which student is in the better position, someone who doesn't go as far in math but does very well with grades and exams, or the student who gets through calculus but doesn't do well on the AP exam and not any better than the first student on the college board tests. Maybe it depends. If I had a capable student who was aiming for certain schools or certain professions, I would probably attempt to accelerate the math. But not every student needs to or wants to handle the extra workload to do that. We have to do what is best for the student in front of us and trust that it will work out.

Edited by Penelope
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We just started homeschooling!  My kids stopped going to school on the 12th and I am so happy to have them home. Anyway, my 6th grader needs work in math. I think I could get her ready for pre-algebra by January and just work through the summer to get it done. That would put her in algebra in 8th. That being said, it would be nice to have more time and just do algebra in 9th. I don't want to close any doors for her, but I am pretty she sure she isn't headed for a STEM degree. It seems like everyone is doing pre-algebra in 6th in 7th grade. The school she left was doing it in 6th. Is it important for kids to have algebra in 8th these days.....??

She will be absolutely fine. Even if she is competing with children who took it earlier, she will get into a fine college and do fine.

 

My friend's dd did Alg in 8th, Geom in 9th, started Alg 2 and realized she didn't remember any Alg 1, repeated Alg 1,did Alg 2 and then got into a good college with a Merit Scholarship (second highest) and is getting a 3.5.

 

Yes, it may be a problem if all your eggs are in the Ivy basket--but in terms of will your child reach the goal of college and being prepared for a future--it will make very little difference at all.

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Yes, it may be a problem if all your eggs are in the Ivy basket--but in terms of will your child reach the goal of college and being prepared for a future--it will make very little difference at all.

Yup. I think this is one of those things people worry about way too much. Like I said, my dd took algebra in 10th grade. She graduated with only algebra II. She got $30k+ in scholarships to a private liberal arts college where she studies science. She's not at an Ivy, but she's FINE.

 

It irritates me that there is the idea that a kid's future is determined by their 8th grade math class. Baloney.

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DD took the Final Exam for the first semester of Algebra 1 this morning.  When I took a male cat to the vet to be neutered, I had no idea she was going to take a Final Exam today. Those are 25% of the semester grade.   IMO, it is critical that students thoroughly understand the concepts of Algebra 1. If they don't,  they are probably not going to be successful with later math courses.   

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It irritates me that there is the idea that a kid's future is determined by their 8th grade math class. Baloney.

 

Nobody is saying that. But it's equally foolish to ignore the reality of what MANY colleges expect and that number is growing. This isn't about Ivy League vs every other school. It's common to expect Algebra in 8th grade. No matter what high school education you have there will always been ways to go to college. That isn't really the way to measure. 

 

We always have to make decisions between pushing our students and backing off. Both choices have implications and we need to keep them in mind. 

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Nobody is saying that. 

 

Actually, you did. 

 

 

 

Our high school system has levels of diplomas.  The advanced diploma is for the college bound kids. Unless a student takes Algebra in the 8th grade at least there won't be room in their schedule to get enough credits for the advanced diploma.

 

I'm not blaming you for it, but if this is the case, then kids' futures are being decided based on an eighth grade math class. That's crazy, and it's wrong. And, in my experience, that's not the way it is. I actually spent some time looking up the requirements of five state universities in the state I live in. None expect a transcript that reflects algebra I in 8th grade.

 

It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation to read the responses on this thread: don't force your kid into algebra before they're ready, but if you expect your kid to get into college, they better take algebra in 8th grade. 

 

I'll certainly join the resistance movement.

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My goal is to have all my kids ready for Algebra 1 by 9th grade. If they're ready sooner then we'll start sooner but if not then I'm not going to worry about it. I'm guessing DD 11 will be ready by the middle of 8th. Unless things start clicking for DD9 soon, we'll have to work hard to be ready by 9th. If we have to wait until 10th so be it. I'm not rushing her. The other two are still very young, but if I had to guess, I'd say they'll be doing Algebra in 7th or 8th. Math just seems to come easier for them than the older two.

 

I'm not going to worry about college. If they get to high school and decide their passion is a STEM field (really don't see that happening with the older two but you never know), I'm trusting that they'll have the motivation to double up and get their math where it needs to be. If not, they can start at a cc and take the classes they need then and transfer later.

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Or need a tutor to pull them through with a "C", like in my district.  The school district we are in actually hired a consultant for I-don't-know-how-many-hundreds of thousands to find out why the upper level math skills in their students were so weak.  No one thought to look at the 7th graders in algebra who needed tutors to swing  "C".

What this tells me is that the majority of kids are not doing a rigorous algebra course. The slightly weak and average kids are probably doing "algebra lite."

I was worried for half a minute when some friends told me it was normal to start algebra in 6th grade these days. Then I looked at what their sixth graders were doing for "algebra" and realized that really, they were learning some algebraic concepts, same as my kids, but they were not taking an algebra course.

I'd be interested to see how much of the syllabus those kids in your area are actually getting through in their algebra I class. My oldest dd's school did not allow students to take algebra I (or anything higher even if they'd taken algebra I in middle school) because they found that the incoming freshmen's math skills were so weak. The entire 9th grade year was devoted to getting them prepared for algebra. I think maybe 1 or 2 kids in the entire freshman class truly tested out of the first year math academy class they had.

 

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Nobody is saying that. But it's equally foolish to ignore the reality of what MANY colleges expect and that number is growing. This isn't about Ivy League vs every other school. It's common to expect Algebra in 8th grade. No matter what high school education you have there will always been ways to go to college. That isn't really the way to measure. 

 

We always have to make decisions between pushing our students and backing off. Both choices have implications and we need to keep them in mind. 

 

While this may be the reality in the high stakes area that you live, I disagree that this is factual in many other regions of our very large country.  

 

OP, you will not ruin your child's ability to get into college if Algebra happens in 9th grade, I promise.

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Both of my finished algebra at the end of 9th-grade. I had to buy a new book for the youngest, because her sister stained the first one with tears, lol. 

 

My senior wound up doing both Algebra 2 and pre-calc in the 11th-grade (during the school year, she did not work through the summer), but is taking an introduction to discrete mathematics rather than calculus for her senior year. She had lots of great college offers - the one she will attend is not selective, but ranked in the top 200 and known for STEM. No problems with her starting in honors calculus, and the math department said she is very well situated to major in math if she is interested. So kids who do change their mind about STEM still don't have to take algebra in 8th, much less 7th, unless they are aiming for a super-selective school. And even MIT has taken students who didn't have calculus in high school! 

 

My sophomore is currently in geometry. I'd be amazing if she wound up doing 2 levels of math next year (but I was also amazed when her sister did it, it was a crazy turnaround). Still, I am pretty sure she will do only the math she has to do, at least in high school. 

 

So, my take on it is that 9th is more than fine unless you are freaked out about lowering her chances for a super-selective school. Even then, I would lean towards a steady pace now, and moving quicker in 10th/11th-grades if that becomes a goal of hers. 

 

Another thing - both of mine have come back from breaks with knowledge and ability they sure didn't seem to have before the break - some of it is maturity, and some of it is just the break itself, imo. We do a longer school year than many; we take off all of July, start in August, and usually have a few things to finish up part-time in June. We don't do well with a super long summer break, but we need that partial break in June and complete break in July. 

 

I would be very hesitant to work through just to get her on a certain track. She might perceive it as a negative for homeschooling, and it's a quick route to burnout for both of you. Truly, if she just works steadily through the school year she will be ready for algebra when she is truly ready for algebra, whether that is 8th or 9th. 

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We are going the, get there when we get there route. Which may put us there at 8th, 8 1/2 or 9th. I am convinced that giving her the time she needs to understand the concepts well (and with out making her hate math in the process) is more important than getting there in 8th. I greatly appreciate all of the feedback!

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